• Mar 15th, 2015

A SCENE IN BETWEEN – KURSAAL SHOES

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A book charting the intricacies of 1980s Indie fashions and a German word with roots in Southend-on-Sea, sounds strange, intriguing, even obscure, but there is a connection. The book, A Scene In Between by Sam Knee, sheds light on the often overlooked scene in-between scenes, that bridged the gap between post-Punk and the acid house of the late 80s, and whose style reverberations are still felt today, and constantly referenced by the style cognoscenti.

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Suburban students in bretons and Beatleboots, effortlessly blessed with a kind of charity shop chic that seems almost impossible to re-create, a kind of Thatcher’s Britain austere DIY aesthetic, tantalisingly simple and wholly original yet elusive, despite all their efforts.

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And so, Mr Knee started Kursaal, ever fond of a soft shoe and a cardigan, he has plundered cult cobbler George Cox’s archive for obsolete lasts, and the scene making shapes that have long since disappeared, resurrecting a key element of ‘the look’.
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Kursaal, the German word in question, is also the name of the funfair in Southend where Sam grew up, and the typeface is re-appropriated from an old Yardbirds flyer.

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Everything from the name, to the two styles chosen, a 60s inspired Gibson creeper with crepe sole, and a black suede jodhpur boot, the same Seditionaries style worn by the late Malcolm Maclaren, is laden with connotations from pub-rock and Punk, Acme Attractions, Strummer and the Stray Cats, Carnaby mods and the Ted revival. Pretty much all the most important sub-cultural youth movements of the last century.
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So, if you’d like to own a pair of the Svengali’s boots, or a basket weave creeper, the perfect compliment to corduroy, stripy T’s and a fringe, then look no further the search is over.

Malcolm_+McLaren
Kursaal shoes and the book A Scene In Between are available now at the Earlham St. shop.
A Scene In Between (2013) by Sam Knee, is published by Cicada Books Limited.

Words: Simon

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